From 100 To 19,000 With Kelly Clarkson

From 100 To 19,000 With Kelly Clarkson

Breaking away from assumptions and being persistent to achieve aspirations
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When I was in middle school, I sang Kelly Clarkson’s song “Breakaway” in one of my first talent shows. Living in my tiny hometown, where the total number of students in the high school is around 400, the opening lyric “Grew up in a small town” felt pretty accurate. Although I was in middle school, I thought I knew so much and was so deep, as many middle school students do, the song, all about being able to experience more than the little place you know so well, still means a great deal to me.

As Justin Herring of Sidewinder.fm said in his article, “Rise Above: The Challenges Of Today's Independent Musician,” on Hyperbot.com, “It’s hard to say what steps a musician today should take in order to reach their desired level of success.”

In a small town, it’s much more difficult to be noticed as an artist. While aspiring artists in Los Angeles and New York may have a tough time making it big, they have a larger group of people to compete with and a larger audience. They may attract the attention of a niche group. Small towns have much smaller niche groups, which means certain individuals get the majority of the attention of their student body audience. There generally aren’t big bosses or agents who can help bring attention or success to an artist in a small town. And when you don’t have a voice that’s powerful in the same way as Beyoncé’s or belt songs in the same way as many pop stars, it may feel like you aren’t as talented as them.

My family, friends and other acquaintances have always been supportive of my musical endeavors, like my YouTube channel smiles fromca. They give me compliments, tell their friends and family about things that I do and share or like my videos on social media like YouTube. It’s wonderful. However, it’s often more difficult than some individuals make it look to gain subscribers on a YouTube channel. And it’s especially difficult to be patient enough to make great quality videos that will get attention — video and filmmaking are not nearly as easy as they may seem.

During high school, some of my friends were taking lessons with a voice teacher, Eva Kendrick. I had wanted to do voice lessons for some time and decided I would start. Eva helped me in many ways; she told me what my vocal range is and that I'm a soprano. She helped me to work on my soprano range, as well as to expand my vocal range overall. I performed in more shows, which she arranged, and for different audiences. I did my first vocal competition with her help. She gave me the tools and encouragement to be more confident in my vocal abilities. Although I didn’t gain thousands of subscribers due to Eva and voice lessons, I became a stronger and more assured performer.

I have loved and been inspired by Kelly Clarkson since I was in elementary school, singing along to “Breakaway” and “Since U Been Gone." Many of her songs are empowering, Taylor Weatherby of Entertainment Weekly writes, "And with empowering lyrics such as ‘Now I am invincible/No, I ain’t a scared little girl no more’ and ‘I have courage now, gonna shout it out,’ Clarkson declares that her ‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)’ spirit hasn’t changed.” Therefore, I was excited when I saw that Kelly Clarkson was having an Open Mic Night contest. AXS.com Contributor Chase Hunt said, “Having Open Mic Night will be a way for fans to get their voices heard and to share the stage with the three-time Grammy winner.”

For the contest, I created a video of me covering “Learn to Fly” by the Foo Fighters, singing and playing guitar. I worked hard to make my cover different from the original song and to make the video good quality. I filmed the cover several times to get it right. I worried that someone who belts or sings like Ariana Grande would win. When I received the email from Kelly Clarkson’s tour telling me I was chosen, I basically just read “Congratulations Shannon!” before running to tell my mom.

I rehearsed outside in the beautiful, hot and sunny weather, soundchecked onstage and got to hear the band start up loudly behind me. I got to meet and chat with a woman who has inspired me since elementary school. I got to perform onstage in front of 17,000 to 19,000 people.

Anyone, anywhere, can achieve his or her aspirations; it just takes confidence, belief in oneself and hard work. If you are a small-town individual who dreams while gazing out the window, much like Kelly Clarkson sings about in “Breakaway,” believe that you have the ability to do amazing things.

Cover Image Credit: My mother Jennifer Miles

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14 Inspirational 'Winnie The Pooh' Quotes For College Kids Feeling Like Eeyore

Of course he with the help of his friends.

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Winnie the Pooh and his friends were my best buds as a child. Now, as a college student, I've realized they knew more about life than I thought.

These 14 quotes from the 'Winnie the Pooh' movies, TV shows, and books, is getting me through this difficult semester, and maybe it will help you, too.

"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." -Christopher Robin

"The nicest thing about rain is that it always stops. Eventually." -Eeyore

"The things that make me different are the things that make me." -Piglet

"It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine." -Eeyore

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day." -Winnie the Pooh

"Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering." -Piglet

"Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be." -Eeyore

"Spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count." -Rabbit

"There's no difference between falling a thousand feet to the jagged rocks below and tumbling out of bed." -Tigger

"People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day." -Winnie the Pooh

"I always get to where I'm going by walking away from where I have been." -Winnie the Pooh

"To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks." -Eeyore 

"You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for other to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." -Piglet

"When you are a bear of very little brain, and you think of things, you find sometimes that a thing which seemed very thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it." -Winnie the Pooh

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Music Review: Greta Van Fleet, "Anthem of the Peaceful Army"

The best rock album of the year.

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Greta Van Fleet is a rock band with a classic rock sound. But what is so amazing is that the four members, 3 of which are brothers, are between the ages of 19 and 22. You have Josh, the lead singer; Jake, who plays guitar; Sam, who plays the bass and piano; and Danny, who plays the drums. They just released their first full album this year, back in October. I have been waiting for this album for so long and it is just so awesome! I love it. I ordered a vinyl record when it was released and it is amazing. This is a breakdown of each song, and what you can expect from each one.

1.​ Age Of Man

Age Of Man: This is the opening song of the album. The song starts off slow, but it reminds me of something mystical. The lyrics of the whole song remind me of an oral story that is being told from an elder to the younger people about how we as people have come about. Josh's vocals are just amazing in the chorus, he can really belt! Overall I think this is a great song, and it's a great opening to what these guys want to tell.

2. The Cold Wind

The Cold Wind: This song is just so fun. Sam does an amazing job in the bass in this song. It sounds so intricate and really adds a lot to this song. Furthermore, Jake's little guitar solo is so fun. One thing that is starting to grow on me about this song is the vocals in the middle of the song where Josh is just saying "Ma ma ma ma ma…". It sounds a little funny and the first time I heard it I actually laughed out loud because it reminded me of a confused dodo bird. But the more I listen to it, the more I like it because it's just such a fun thing. This is the kind of song that I can just stupidly dance around to and have fun with it.

3. When The Curtain Falls

When The Curtain Falls: I actually had this song stuck in my head for the past few nights while trying to sleep, which was interesting. But this song is so fun. Just every aspect of this song, from the vocals to the guitar, to the drums, to the bass, perfectly melds together to create this masterpiece. Also, Jake does a sick guitar riff. Like I am blown away! Just so good.

4. Watching Over

Watching Over: We're slowing it down again. But it has a psychedelic feel to it. This song is much more serious than some of the other ones. The chorus really hits on the point how much we have ruined our planet, but we don't want to see it or fix it because many people are acting like it's fine. Kind of a deep and depressing song, but so relevant and thought provoking. A very interesting detail that I hope you hear when listening to this, it kind of freaked me out the first time I heard it, but during the part when Josh sings, "With the water rising" you can hear like a deeper voice singing it too. Perhaps it's the one watching over?

5. Lover, Leaver

Lover, Leaver: This song is one of my favorites. It reminds me of a 70s song because of the way the instruments come together. It gives a feeling of Woodstock and nostalgia. Furthermore, the lyrics are a fun play on words. For example, "Lover, leaver" sounds like "love her, leave her". I don't know if they meant for that to happen, but it just adds a bit extra to the song. The ending is mind boggling. Danny does an amazing job on those drums. I can only imagine how tiring it must be.

6. You're The One

You're The One: This song is just so cute and loving. Sam does a great job on the piano, which adds a lot of character to the song. It sounds like a song I've heard before, like this could be a cover to an older song, but I can't find anything about it. Obviously they've done a good job achieving that older sound if I think it sounds like an older song. This is a great song and I highly recommend this song if you want something a bit more relaxed and loving.

7. The New Day

The New Day: I love this song. It makes me feel so inspired to just go out and love people. The opening line, which is my favorite, just says it all, "Let the new day shine its light on me". What a powerful opening line! However, there's a line that says, "You're growing up I'll watch you bloom" but I always think he's saying "You're throwing up". I think that's just a "me problem", but it makes the song a bit funnier. Anyway, I feel like a flower child when I listen to this song, and that's all I want in life. I hope that this song inspires you too and that you wake up each day with a fresh start.

8. Mountain of the Sun

Mountain of the Sun: Another great song. This is an awesome song to listen to while hiking or just out and about. The opening guitar sounds so cool, and makes you feel like you're on a journey. Josh's voice is just so incredible, but it really shines in this song. Jake has an awesome riff in this song, and one of my favorite parts is when they use the tambourine. It's such a simple sound, but it adds another layer to this song.

9. Brave New World

Brave New World: This song is much darker than the others, in respect to both content and sound. This song again reflects on the damage that we have done to this earth, but a more social commentary on it. One of my favorite lines of the song is "kill fear, the power of lies For we will not be hypnotized" because fear is a powerful thing, and fear is a liar. It makes us believe lies that we tell ourselves or that we hear from others. Once you realize this, you will not give in to fear and you will know the truth. Again, Jake has an amazing rift near the end and Sam does some awesome things with the bass. They just kill it every time.

10. Anthem

Anthem: This song is personally one of my other favorites. It's one of their slower songs but it ties the whole album together since it is the "Anthem" of the Peaceful Army. The song talks about how there are so many problems in the world and everyone has different opinions, but we should "agree to disagree" on our opposing views and just love each other. This is a chill song. It almost has a tropical feel to it, so you feel so relaxed.

11. Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)

Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer): This is an extended version of "Lover, Leaver" and it is just as amazing. It's a bit longer because there is more of a rif in the middle. You get so much more from all of the members. You just have to listen to this song because they all just do such an amazing job making this song even more perfect, which I didn't even know was possible.

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